Padma Lakshmi would lie about endometriosis, claim it was a migraine or flu

Endometriosis is a condition that affects one in ten women in which the uterine lining grows outside the uterus. It can be very painful, especially during your period, and can affect fertility and your sex life. Among the women who have discussed their battle with endometriosis are Julianne Hough, Halsey, Tia Mowry-Hardict, Daisy Ridley and Padma Lakshmi. Padma cofounded the Endometriosis Foundation of America and used to be bedridden from endometriosis before she had surgery. In a new interview with People, she talks about how embarrassed she was by it, both as a teen and an adult when she used to make up excuses and cover stories for not being able to work. Padma has been appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Development Programme.

“I was so embarrassed about it,” Lakshmi said of the endometriosis diagnosis. “I would lie to my agent and say, ‘Oh I have a migraine’ and then the next month I’d say ‘I have the stomach flu.’ “

“A lot of people are speaking about it and that’s good.”

“As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s remember that women and girls face some of the worst discrimination and hardships in the world,” Lakshmi said at a press conference held at UNDP headquarters in New York.

“My main mission as UNDP Goodwill Ambassador will be to shine a spotlight on the fact that inequality can affect people in rich and poor countries alike.”

As a mother, Lakshmi feels that the lessons told to little boys and little girls needs to be changed, saying, “Women are told to be nice, we are told to get along, to be adjusting, go with the flow, work really hard, be perfect, be polite, be pretty, be alluring but not too alluring because then it is your fault. Whereas, boys are raised to be strong and brave and go after what they want and take life by the horns.”

“We are telling little girls something different than what we are telling little boys,” she continued. “We are sending them out to the same ocean to swim together. I used to think intelligence is the greatest quality to have, but now I honestly believe it is empathy. I think that is really important to be teaching our little boys and girls. Empathy.”

[From People]

We’ve heard so many horror stories about how debilitating periods can be, both physically and psychologically. The documentary short which won the Oscar this year, Period. End of Sentence, highlights how menstruation can keep women from completing school in rural India. Padma is right that women get different messages about how we’re supposed to act and who we’re supposed to be, and that our physiology is used to further that divide.

I’m getting an endometrial ablation later today, Wednesday. While I don’t believe I have endometriosis, I’ve felt awful and have had symptoms lasting longer than my period for months. I’m in premenopause and it’s as if I have my period 2 to 3 weeks out of the month. All of my friends who have ablations say they worked for them so I’m really hoping it works for me too.



Photos credit: WENN

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18 Responses to “Padma Lakshmi would lie about endometriosis, claim it was a migraine or flu”

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  1. Dazed and confused says:

    Yep. I did this at the height of my endometriosis. I felt like men and women wouldn’t take it seriously if I was staying home for “cramps” – even though for me, that meant feeling like someone was trying to wring out my entire abdomen for several days. It was also very hard to have a life. You are fine for a couple of weeks, then disappear for 10 days. People don’t always wait around for that, especially if they are new to your life.

    Good luck with your ablation, Celebitchy. I know a couple of people who had one and it really helped.

  2. elimaeby says:

    I have endometriosis, and have been going through (VERY) early menopause in my early 30s. I completely feel for her. I remember sweating and shaking in classes in high school and college. I really hope the ablation helps, CB! It’s helped so many of my friends. I ended up on hormone treatments, which helped me greatly.

    Also, side note, but Padma is one of the most gorgeous women on earth and I swear she will never age.

    • SweetE555 says:

      I’ve suffered with severe endometriosis and was just diagnosed with Premature Ovarian
      Failure/ Early Menopause a few weeks ago. I’m 39 and had been on low dose birth control pills to control my endometriosis and decided to go off in December. Well the hot flashes from hell started and my FSH was 126. My doctor advised me to go back on my birth control pills until I’m 52 to help with the symptoms. I’m so confused and feel like there has to be other options. ELIMAEBY or anyone else going through Early Menopause could you offer any advice on what treatments you used and how they worked for you? Thank you to everyone here for being so supportive and understanding.

  3. Lucia says:

    I want to apologize now for hijacking since I don’t have endometriosis but another chronic illness. I think this is true of any woman with any chronic illness but I can see it being more so with any chronic uterine illness. I get a lot of what Padma is saying since I have MS. Mind you, my MS comes and goes and it isn’t a monthly thing (though it can be because periods with MS can be brutal and my periods can be a trigger for a relapse). It took me 4 years just to say the words “I have MS”, much less tell others. I hid it from everyone and I think sometimes it did more damage than just admitting it. That’s me though and people are understanding of those in my shoes more than someone who has crippling uterine pain which I don’t get. It’s just as valid as my MS and can be even more brutal.

    • broodytrudy says:

      Yes! I have CFS/ME and when i get really bad i feel like i have to lie because “everyone gets tired”. Women are NOT believed when they’re ill and the harsh amount of questioning I’ve gotten about my “supposed diagnosis” is not even worth it to me to tell the truth. It’s bullshit.

  4. JadedBrit says:

    My darling, incredibly talented grandmother was once hauled into her professor’s office during the second year of her degree and told that it had been “noticed she’d been taking the same days off every month… And wasn’t it time to buck up a little?” Needless to state, the professor was male.
    We women are supposed to put up with so much physiologically and deal with the psychological fallout: menstruation that is so horrifically painful and abbatoiresque, the hormonal imbalances that implode our brain and body chemistry, as if it were a point of embarrassment. I celebrate what Laskshmi has to say, and all the women fighting the mediaevalist notions surrounding periods.
    Personally, I blame the twelfth century, when the Marian cult replaced Eve as the archetype of womanhood. The damage echoing through the centuries is astounding.
    Best of luck with your ablation, and I really do hope that it alleviates all those miserable symptoms.

  5. Wilady says:

    My doctor expressed some confirmation in my suspicions that I have endometriosis, and he says it’s probably mild, but it’s intimidating that the only way to know for sure is lap surgery. I’ve felt for years like mine is on my bowels, and lately my bladder feels like I can go less and less time between bathroom trips. Part of me wants to wait until it’s “really bad” because the thought of having laproscopic surgery and finding nothing would be awful and shameful, I feel like. Like I’m just a wimp that can’t handle a period or something, even though I know that’s ridiculous. So for now I brace myself when waste travels through my large intestine, and pee every 45 minutes. I can’t imagine the pain of severe Endo and my heart goes out to those that have it.

  6. Soni76 says:

    I don’t have endrometriosis, but I have severely heavy periods because of 3 fibroids. I can barely walk during the first two days of my period because of the heavy flow. My gyn told me about ablation and I’ve looked into it a bit but am scared to go through with it. If you’re up CB, let us know how it goes. Good luck!!

  7. smee says:

    I had fibroids big time – when I turned 40 I was finally eligible for a partial hysto – best day of my life! I can now wear white pants, I can sit for as long as I want without fear AND I can have nice underwear again. I feel for anyone with these afflictions – glad it’s being discussed!

  8. Eden75 says:

    Good luck today! I hope you are up and back on your feet feeling like a million bucks soon!

  9. Jess says:

    I don’t have endo but I do have fibroids and my periods have been awful since I hit my 40s – random, sometimes crazy heavy, they can last for two weeks or come in the middle of my cycle, and I get awful cramps. I’ve heard good things about ablation (at least for the flow – less so for the cramps. I’d get it but my insurance is crap and it would cost $3k out of pocket. I hope it works for you, Celebitchy!

  10. Jennevieve says:

    I had an ablation six years ago because of polyps and I had a hysterectomy three weeks ago because of endometriosis! The recovery sucks but I am so excited about the future!

  11. Lilla says:

    Good wishes, CB, for a positive outcome. I had severe endometriosis before ablation was common, and so had hormone therapy. That just added nausea and vomiting to the mix. Then had (unrelated) late stage cervical cancer with chemo and lots of radiation damage, so I have had pelvic pain all my life, it seems. And I, too, often make other excuses, as discussing anything related to “female problems” in the workplace is uncomfortable for me. And I did not discuss which type of cancer I had either. When the occasional assh*le would eyeball my breasts and ask what kind of cancer I had, I learned to give the most withering stare.

    Will it ever change for women?

  12. lis says:

    I hope the ablation helps, and I’m sending get well vibes and good meds! I struggled with endo from age 11 – had a bunch of surgeries and even removed each ovary separately to try and give me a chance to have kids. Sadly, I also had adenomyosis which caused my pain, and hysterectomy was the cure for that. While I still have some endo pain, its nothing like what I had before my hyst. Hoping that ablation is the end of the road for this pain for you!

  13. lis says:

    Side note: Padma is close with a fancy endo surgeon in NYC that I ended up seeing at the recommendation of a friend. He sat and chatted on the phone with her in front of me (during my appointment!) for fifteen minutes, saying she was in Europe that day and he needed to talk to her before night. Was awkward and super rude! They chatted about some Endo.Org business. I was livid. Especially when he shamed me after for not coming to see him sooner.

  14. Dani says:

    Good luck CB with your endometrial ablation. I hope it improves your quality of life!

  15. leskat says:

    My sister was diagnosed with endometriosis when she was in her late 20’s. For about 15 years, no doctor would believe her periods or her pain was as bad as she told them it was. She would tell them all her symptoms-super heavy periods, pain that would make her black out, periods that lasted for weeks and they’d all send her off with a prescription for Aleve (basically) and tell her to take it easy.
    When she finally found a female gyno that would believe her, I think she just couldn’t believe how easy it was to tell a doctor your symptoms and for them to say “yep, I can help you with that”. She’s had a few procedures to help her out and a hysterectomy is a future possibility but she has it mostly under control with an IUD and monitoring. Now that I know the hell she went through to be believed and treated you better believe that if my daughters have the same issues we are running to every gyno until we get it solved because I never want them to suffer for decades in silence.

  16. CB, I’m glad you’re getting your bleeding checked. My Mom went years without getting her bleeding checked, and just chalked it up to menopause. It was cancer, and she succumbed to it. Not trying to scare you or anything, but kudos for getting it checked.